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Getaway Guide: Hendy Woods State Park
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Getaway Guide: Hendy Woods State Park

This guide has everything you need for the perfect getaway in Hendy Woods State Park. Hiking trails and campgrounds are a read away!

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4 min read

January 06, 2022

Northern California’s redwoods are star players among its excellent state park system. While Hendy Woods State Park is no exception in terms of excellence, it remains somewhat of a hidden gem in the Golden State in comparison to its coastal companions. Boasting 945 acres of enchanting redwood groves, green sunny meadows, tranquil campsites, and easy access to the Navarro River, the ever-so-lovely Hendy Woods is a must-visit destination in the magical Mendocino.

Known for its old-growth coast redwoods, Hendy Woods State Park is located in the Anderson Valley of Mendocino County.

Day 1

Arriving

Located in the beautiful Anderson Valley of Mendocino, Hendy Woods State Park sits right off of Highway 128 near Philo. Since it’s about 125 miles northwest of San Francisco, the drive should take you between two and a half to three hours maximum.

The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive at Hendy Woods—especially if you’ve been to the other redwood parks in NorCal—is its relatively warmer temperatures. Hendy Woods is a bit further inland than the state’s other redwood parks, so it’s usually less foggy than you’d expect it to be. That being said, the towering redwoods do make the Hendy Woods area moist and shady, so expect it to be cooler than other areas of Anderson Valley and layer your clothes accordingly.

Providing camping facilities near the Anderson Valley, Hendy Woods is named after Joshua Hendy, who owned the land and made sure it's protected.

Afternoon

You’ll be spending the night in Hendy Woods State Park, so getting acquainted with its campsites before you hit the road is the key to securing a spot. With 92 campsites divided into two campgrounds, four rental camping cabins, and a large day use picnic area, Hendy Woods camping is a fairly comfortable experience.

The Azalea Campground offers 43 sites and the Wildcat Campground offers 49 sites. All regular Hendy Woods camping sites have a fire pit, food lockers,  picnic tables, bathrooms, showers, and potable water stations. Each Hendy Woods campground also offers two rustic cabins for rent, which are always quick to go.

Summertime is the peak of popularity for Hendy Woods State Park. If you’re traveling from May through September, you should book a site at one of the two Hendy Woods campgrounds through Reserve California, especially if you’re visiting on a weekend. At other times throughout the year, campsites can be secured upon arrival at the park and are almost always available. In any case, it's always a good idea to reserve in advance for extra safety. Furthermore, several Hendy Woods camping sites and one Hendy Woods cabin meet standards of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), and if you’re willing to reserve these, booking online is also highly encouraged. 

Set up a big blanket and pillows near your campsite so you can get as cozy as possible while you gaze up at the night sky.

Evening

After you’ve settled in at your Hendy Woods campground tent or cabin, squeeze in a bit of park exploration before the sun begins to set. You’ll have enough time to explore Big Hendy and Little Hendy tomorrow, but today, stick to walking along the Hendy Woods Discovery Trail. Flat, easy, and just over one and a half miles in length, this trail is a beginner-friendly walk in the park—literally. Pick up a brochure from the visitor center and read about the park and the hermit huts along the trail; it’s a lovely state park experience.

Come back to your Hendy Woods cabin or tent after your educational adventure and spend a night under the stars. You'll truly embrace Hendy Woods State Park’s park’s woodsy campgrounds as you settle comfortably into your humble yet cozy accommodation, protected by the towering trees. Watch the extra-bright stars peek through the branches of the redwoods and feel the fondness of Hendy Woods State Park double instantly. This is a magical experience you’ll cherish forever.

Hendy Woods State Park's facilities consist of several miles of hiking trails, including a wheelchair-accessible trail through the redwoods.

Day 2

Morning

Waking up amidst the old-growth redwoods is an indescribable feeling, especially if you catch the sunrise. We won’t tell you to set an alarm on vacation because something about camping in the wild pushes you to wake up earlier than usual. And the most magical aspect of that is that you already wake up refreshed! 

As the sun slowly rises up, make yourself a cup of coffee and stroll along one of Hendy Woods’ most popular flat trails. The Big Hendy Long Loop and Little Hendy Grove are both easy and fairly short options that’ll leave a lasting impression.

Depending on the time of the year, you should also be able to swim under the Greenwood Road bridge or access the river for wading from the day use area. On clear summer days, it’s common for campers in Hendy Woods State Park to take a dip here before afternoon.

You'll encounter 25 picnic sites, almost 100 campsites, and four cabins at Hendy Woods State Park to keep you entertained during your visit.

Afternoon

You shouldn't miss out on a fun and cozy barbecue party in the Hendy Woods State Park day use area. The big meadow that makes up the area boasts picnic tables, barbecues, two shade structures, and bathroom facilities; everything you need for a fun picnic!

If you’re spending the weekend with your family and friends, then you already have great company to pull this picnic together. However, you shouldn’t worry if you’re traveling solo either because the Hendy Woods State Park day use area is never completely abandoned. Especially if you’re heading up there in the summer, an impromptu afternoon barbecue party is quite the expected happening.

Hendy Woods State Park is actually one of only two in Mendocino County to fully comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Evening

Escaping to Mendocino is always a good experience. Geographically, it’s less than three hours from San Francisco. In almost every other way, it feels about a lifetime away and Hendy Woods State Park solidifies that. Trees, rivers, wildlife, stargazing, and good company make a foolproof equation for a retreat into nature. If you soon find yourself reminiscing about close-to-home vacation, you’ll now know that Hendy Woods State Park is an option you can’t go wrong with.

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